Michelle Hafle is a professional International Latin American dancer. She has traveled all over the world competing in the most prestigious competitions with her partner, Sergey Korshunov. Together they are ranked three-time U.S. Professional Rising Star Latin Finalists and ranked three-time British Open Rising Star Quarterfinalists. In 2012 she appeared on Dancing with the Stars performing a special project with Cheryl Burke. She has worked extensively with Emmitt Smith, Mark Cuban, and Michael Irvin during to their appearances on the show as well as World Superbike Champion, Ben Spies. In 2008 & 2009 she was invited to dance on Baile Deportivo, aired on Fox Latino Sport. She is frequently invited by WFAA's Good Morning Texas to be the official commentator for the Dancing with the Stars show and local dance related events. Prior to partnering with Sergey, she was involved in several commercials and music videos. In 2004 she was hired by ABC Family to be a contestant on a dance reality series, Dance Fever. There she was able to work with Carrie Ann Inaba, Carman Electra and MC Hammer. She also performed at such events as the Los Angeles Salsa Congress and was hired as a permanent dancer for Wayne Foster's National Entertainment Company. Résumé
What inspired you to become a dancer?
Music, hands down. I’ve always loved moving my body to music. At the age of 10 I would gather all the girls on my neighborhood street, teach them choreography, dress them up, do their hair and make up and then perform routines with them! I started dancing at the age of four, but I didn’t get into partner dancing until later in life. For me, the music and art of finding that true connection with a partner is what inspires me most.
What is your favorite thing about teaching?
I love that moment when something clicks for the student and they have a breakthrough. Being a teacher is not just about passing along information, but it is connecting with your student, truly listening to what their goals are, and helping them to fulfill them. I also love witnessing the joy and confidence dancing brings to their lives whether it’s on a social level or a competitive level.
Do you have a mantra you live by or a favorite motto?
Treat others how you would like to be treated, give people the benefit of the doubt (you never know what they are going through) don’t lie, don’t steal, challenge yourself to love and accept, especially in those moments when you don’t want to, if something goes wrong look at how I contributed to the problem, if something goes right, thank and acknowledge those that helped me.
Who is the most inspiring person you know?
That is a tough question because there is not just one. So here goes the tidal wave: My mom, because she is strong and smart and incredibly resilient. My dance partner, Sergey, because he is so kind hearted, talented, and loyal. My husband, Scott, because he is so patient and kind, and very tolerant of my crazy life. My friend, Kevin Cummings, because he is genuinely kind, doesn’t BS people, and has an amazing ability to encourage and inspire others to be better versions of themselves.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Santorini, Greece. There is something truly magical about this place. The sunsets are unlike any I’ve ever seen, and the views are breathtaking, the restaurants are amazing, and the people are so much fun!
What is your favorite thing to do on your day off?
Lately it has been to either stay home and spend time with my husband, my dogs, and organize home beautification projects OR spend time with friends doing brunches or going out for cocktails.
What is on your grocery list?
Coffee beans, milk, lettuce for salads, kale chicken patties, soup, La Croix, Miraval or Santa Margarita Pinot Grigio.
What is your favorite T.V. show to binge watch?
A better question is to ask which one I don’t binge watch! My favs that I’ve watched more than once are Friends, Game of Thrones, and Sex in the City.
What are two things not many people know about you?
There’s a ton of things not many people know about me. I’m a private person. But a random interesting fact is that I was the first girl to be born out of 5 generations of men on my father’s side. Apparently, the Hafle family was not known to produce females. When I was born my dad thought the hospital made a mistake. Additionally, I was the first girl to make the “all boys” varsity soccer team in high school. They didn’t have a girl’s team, but clearly I didn’t let that stop me.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the mountains right outside of Yosemite National Park. Definitely a fan of outdoor activities like skiing, camping, hiking and fishing. Dallas was a bit of an adjustment for me in the beginning.
What is your secret talent?
Math is incredibly easy for me and I’m pretty good with a sewing machine! I also used to be a billiards shark in college.
What is your guilty pleasure?
French fries and ice cream. Separate and together!
What is your weirdest habit?
Ripping off my fingernails when I’m stressed.
What celebrity embodies your inner rockstar?
Oh! It’s between Bono from U2 or Michael Jackson.
What is your go-to sing-in-the-shower song?
Dragostea Din Tei by O-Zone (Baileee la heee, baileeee la whooo, baileeee la ha ha!) LOL.
What is your favorite food/restaurant?
Sushi! Tuna, Salmon and Yellowtail with lots of wasabi. Mr. Sushi is the best!
What's on your bedside table?
Picture of me and my husband in Belize, picture of me and my family in Yosemite, a candle my girlfriend gave me, a coaster for water, and a book about the seven principles of a good marriage.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A doctor or a lawyer or a college English professor.
One word people use to describe you?
What never fails to get you out of a bad mood?
When someone says, “I understand” and genuinely means it.
What are the top three things on your bucket list?
I’m on my fourth or fifth bucket list! Next three things are:
1. Visit Bali and Switzerland.
2. Go white water rafting.
3. Open another dance studio!
What is the best advice you ever received?
Keep your word. Don’t put things off. Eliminate toxic people from your life because it’s like a small piece of poop in your brownie mix… it will contaminate the entire batter. Keep your private life private. Cultivate friendships. If you love someone, tell them. Don’t be afraid to look stupid. Laugh at yourself. Work on your character daily and strive to be a person that you yourself would admire.
Nick & Licci
CW33 Reporter / MIX 102.9 Radio Host